As the leaves change color and fall from their branches, and as the weather above turns cold, windy, rainy and stormy, so too do the seasons shift towards winter below the surface. Storms and rains infuse fresh water with salt water. Kelp and eel grass beds retreat and all but disappear. Some species may go deeper to avoid the increasing levels of fresh water, while others may fall prey to those who remain. Just prior to our impending winter season can be the very best time of year to explore the cold, green depths of Pacific Northwest waters. Visibility may easily exceed 50 feet. Many species are at or near full size and maturity. Unfortunately, as the waters temps decline and the days grow shorter, far below the surface life sustaining light does not penetrate the depths. It's a fascinating time of year for Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, and all of its amazing underwater wildlife.
Water temp 54º salinity: 2.6%, no current, mostly clear with some sun.
Tiny Pacific Red Octopus video, shot with Canon R5 - 4K
I've been speaking out for years and working to inform people about the growing negative impact that pollutants are having on our Puget Sound waters and its wildlife. In this blog edition I'm posting images and videos of some of the pollutants and issues. Our amazing and gorgeous underwater wildlife is living on, under and around tire reefs, corrugated pipe reefs, toilets, and lots of other trash. When coupled with the changes in our climate, which is causing the waters to warm to extreme temperatures, the effects are becoming more noticeable. As more and more pollutants and trash are being dumped and spilled and put into our waters, they are stressing the wildlife that must survive these threats.
The Octopus below has made its home, for a short time, under a huge piling. Although dumping tires, old telephone poles, corrugated piping into Puget Sound is illegal now, there are thousands of these reefs that still remain. Arguments are on both sides about wether to leave or remove them.
The tire reef above is one of thousands that litter the bottom and are now home to a multitude of creatures. It's unclear how much damage they cause after so many decades, and like the pilings, groups argue continually about removing or leaving them so they can provide a haven for our wildlife. Water temps are averaging about 54º, salinity is about 2.5%.
These videos are of very old corrugated piping (above) and used tires banded together (below) forming reefs covered with wildlife. Many animals will use these structures for protection from predators. Unfortunately, they are leaching chemicals into our waters.
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